What is the definition of Rheumatoid Lung Disease?

Rheumatoid lung disease is a group of lung problems related to rheumatoid arthritis. The condition can include:

  • Blockage of the small airways (bronchiolitis obliterans)
    Blockage of the small airways (bronchiolitis obliterans)
  • Fluid in the chest (pleural effusions)
    Fluid in the chest (pleural effusions)
  • High blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)
    High blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)
  • Lumps in the lungs (nodules)
    Lumps in the lungs (nodules)
  • Scarring (pulmonary fibrosis)
    Scarring (pulmonary fibrosis)

What are the alternative names for Rheumatoid Lung Disease?

Lung disease - rheumatoid arthritis; Rheumatoid nodules; Rheumatoid lung

What are the causes for Rheumatoid Lung Disease?

Lung problems are common in rheumatoid arthritis. They often cause no symptoms.

The cause of lung disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. Sometimes, the medicines used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, especially methotrexate, may result in lung disease.

What are the symptoms for Rheumatoid Lung Disease?

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Joint pain, stiffness, swelling
    Joint pain, stiffness, swelling
  • Skin nodules

What are the current treatments for Rheumatoid Lung Disease?

Many people with this condition have no symptoms. Treatment is aimed at the health problems causing the lung problem and the complications caused by the disorder. Corticosteroids or other medicines that suppress the immune system are sometimes useful.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Rheumatoid Lung Disease?

Outcome is related to the underlying disorder and the type and severity of lung disease. In severe cases, lung transplantation can be considered. This is more common in cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, pulmonary fibrosis, or pulmonary hypertension.

What are the possible complications for Rheumatoid Lung Disease?

Rheumatoid lung disease may lead to:

  • Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
  • Pulmonary hypertension

When should I contact a medical professional for Rheumatoid Lung Disease?

Call your provider right away if you have rheumatoid arthritis and you develop unexplained breathing difficulties.



Corte TJ, Du Bois RM, Wells AU. Connective tissue diseases. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 65.

Yunt ZX, Solomon JJ. Lung disease in rheumatoid arthritis. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2015;41(2):225–236. PMID: PMC4415514  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4415514.

  • Condition: Organizing Pneumonia (OP) in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Journal: BMJ case reports
  • Treatment Used: Corticosteroid Therapy
  • Number of Patients: 2
  • Published —
This case report describes patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who developed organizing pneumonia (OP) after initiation of methotrexate (MTX) treated with corticosteroid therapy.
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Diagnostic Test
  • Participants: 80
  • Start Date: December 19, 2020
CXCL10 As a Biomarker Of Interstitial Lung Disease in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis